Whether Y or Z, younger generations want to escape the hierarchical culture of management, less and less adapted to our world in turmoil. It helped their elders succeed. That’s correct. Yet this culture of management no longer responds to the profound aspirations of the new generations. Gone is the fascination with big business; 66% of young people want to become entrepreneurs, 50% prefer to rent rather than buy a car. For them, quality takes precedence over quantity, being over having – a challenge for our economies devoid of true human values. They all value quality of life at work over any other consideration. That’s why these young people are more susceptible to the new credos of management that shape the contours of a new economy; poles apart from the one we now know.
The latest credo is: « do more with less »! As recently explained by Navi Radjou, a theorist of Frugal Innovation at the Forum « L’Entreprise du Futur » held recently in Lyon, France, this credo comes directly from the observation of nature. For example: water flowing from the mountain follows a path that respects the law of least effort. According to this innovation advisor, affiliated with the University of Cambridge and the World Economic Forum, this is a radical paradigm shift. A revealing detail, « generations Y or Z no longer want to work in companies like yours » was the Indian expert’s answer to a question from the room.
Born in Pondicherry, Navi Radjou’s experience was formed at an early age by the rationing of water and electricity, which still persists in many towns and villages on the Indian subcontinent. Far from being a handicap, this shortage is a tremendous boost to human intelligence. Those who have visited India know how much prowess the Indians possess when it comes to repairing cars dating from the 1940s for which spare parts have not been available in a long time. Navi Radjou learned the lesson. He learned English by borrowing old copies of Times magazine. In 1998, he relocated to the United States, country of abundance if there is any. Yet it has taken him less than two decades to understand what he calls « the vanity of the race for innovation »
The figures speak for themselves: $ 700 billion were invested in R & D last year in the United States, giving rise to new consumer products, 85% of which will fail after 12 months! Hence his theory of Frugal Innovation: it consists of creating more economic, social and ecological wealth by using fewer resources. It is aligned with the highest moral values. He explained this with a few revealing examples. In the West, without any respect for the resources used, an engineer will look for a way to connect a refrigerator to a smartphone even though millions of inhabitants of the world don’t have electricity. In India, electricity is often unavailable. This is what prompted a potter to design a clay fridge capable of keeping milk and vegetables at a good temperature for three to five days. The icing on the cake – this refrigerator is fully biodegradable. Similar examples exist in many countries of the Southern Hemisphere, more inclined than us to create opportunity from adversity.
Does this concept of Frugal Innovation have a place in our Western economies? Navi Radjou has no doubt about it. I personally doubt that Westerners will suddenly adopt a clay fridge. On the other hand, the micro wind turbine invented by two Indian brothers, Arun and Anoop George, is likely to find a large interest in our countries stuck in the energy crisis. Experts talk about a small revolution in the world of wind energy. It offers, for the price of a smartphone, a device no bigger than a fan yet capable of producing 3 to 5 Kwh per day. Originally intended for India, this invention is likely to be of interest to many western countries in the energy transition phase. The two brothers anticipate selling more than a billion throughout the world.
This example shows the path of Frugal Innovation. Our engineers will have to tackle their creativity in order to utilize fewer resources and respect the highest moral values, something which the majority is still ways away from. The good news is that a minority of them is already in sync with this natural approach, and these are our best talents. Steve Jobs noticed that the best computer developer on his teams performed more than twenty times better than the developer lambda. It achieves the desired result with fewer lines of code. It is therefore an example of Frugal Innovation or in other terms of « do less to accomplish more », a challenge in response to which neuroscience has shown the essential role of brain coherence.
Indeed, a study published in 2014 in the Creativity Research Journal  showed a strong relationship between creativity and brain coherence. The study included the 21 most creative engineers of an aircraft factory belonging to the Swedish group Volvo. The study confirmed that the scores obtained on the Torrance creativity test  directly correlated to the coefficient of EEG in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. Dr. Fred Travis, a researcher of neuroscience at Maharishi University of Management (Iowa, USA) and Dr. Yvonne Lagrosen, a management researcher at University West (Sweden), show that creativity is the result of brain integration and therefore a result of brain wave coherence. People who acquire a high level of brain integration through the regular practice of transcendental meditation are better able to step outside the box and bring more feasible solutions to old problems
By developing the brain’s overall functioning in all areas of the hemispheres and in all frequency ranges, transcendental meditation makes everyone a potential leader in their field – capable of rapidly achieving the best results by utilizing fewer resources. The path is therefore laid out. The change to the economic model will come from these talents who are at the heart of a local economy that has collaboration as one of its trademarks. Several studies confirm that transcendental meditation reinforces teamwork by developing mutual support, listening skills, respect for others, humor, and so on. In companies that introduced the transcendental meditation program to some of their staff, researchers found an improvement in teamwork, communication and greater harmony in the working environment.
In his latest book, « Tools of Titans: Tactics, Routines and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World Class Performers, » the American Tim Ferriss strongly recommends the practice of transcendental meditation to all those who wish to stand out and become world class performers. An entrepreneur and speaker, Tim Ferris is known worldwide for his book « The 4-hour work week ». « Tools of Titans » is based on interviews with 200 world-renowned personalities in the fields of business, sports and science. Tim Ferriss, who has a large following by the new generations, explains that over 80% of the « Titans » he interviewed used meditation to achieve better results with less stress. Coming from the world of mindfulness, he himself has been practicing transcendental meditation for two years. This simple and effective technique has allowed him to set his own daily routine while passing through a difficult time in his life.
Conclusion: Collaborative work and creativity will be at the forefront of the digital economy that is beginning to take shape around the world. Its essential characteristics: consuming less capital, time and energy. Today we are in the middle of the road, in the midst of a transition to this new model. Of course, this transition phase will take time, but it is already underway.
Translation : Laurence Folz
 “Creativity and Brain-Functioning in Product Development Engineers: A Canonical Correlation Analysis”, Fred Travis & Yvonne Lagrosen. Creativity Research Journal, Vol 26 / 2, 2014, pp 239-243.
 Torrance Test of Creative Thinking.